Friday, April 17, 2009

New School Board visions can prove to be costly...

The Daily News provided a rather optimistic header to a page two story in Thursday's paper, with their declaration that the "School board lays questions to rest". The latest installment in the popular Prince Rupert guessing game of "Why did Superintendent Mercer leave his job"

Thursday's story from George T. Baker, outlines that the school board paid Mr. Mercer a shade over 140,000 dollars, as part of his severance pay after the school board and the superintendent reached what is called a mutual agreement to part ways.

Baker's story provided some background on the controversy brewing in the community on the departure, offering up a plug for the local chat board hackingthemainframe which has spurred on some debate on the issue and even mentioning how the issue became a topic on the Vancouver Sun's education blog "Report card" (something that readers of our blog first learned about back on March 30)

Tina Last the chair of the school board acknowledged that the sudden departure of the superintendent has resulted in a fair amount of interest among parents and other members of the community. That interest resulted in a prepared statement from the school board, that outlined some of the concerns of the community, but dosen't really seem to answer the key questions that continue to whirl around the departure.

While the school board said that they took the responsibility and accountability part of their job seriously, they were bound by privacy laws when it comes to employment matters. However, they did provide a breakdown of the terms of Mr. Mercer's final payments, as required by law he was entitled to 144,802 dollars before taxes, reflective of 12 months of salary and benefits that were contractually obligated to him as part of the severance.

As for the reasons behind the mutual agreement to part ways, all that seems to have come from the Daily News article is that the decision was that of a renewed vision for the school district.

A vision which hasn't quite been clearly outlined yet and one which no doubt will provide for a few questions from the public and rate payers who may wonder if the timeliness of that decision, not to mention the cost of it and the cost of hiring an acting Superintendent to handle the duties until the end of the shool year, will provide for a workable realization of that vision.

While the Daily News article header suggests the hopeful spin that the School Board has put the issue to rest, we suspect that it will continue to percolate for a little bit longer yet.

There are still a number of people not quite convinced that the right decision was made in that departure and now with a cost associated with that decision, they may still wish to seek out a little more information on it.
Hoping to learn just what took place prior to February to result in the need for a new vision for the North coast when it comes to education.

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